Whole plant medicines or CBD oil cause the entourage effect
The cannabis plant contains many different known and unknown elements, such as fatty acids, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. Cannabinoids interact with the natural endocannabinoid system in our body. However, other parts of the cannabis plant interact with the body differently.
The entourage effect is similar to the concept of whole plant medicine. Instead of isolating an ingredient or using only one part of the cannabis plant, the entourage effect involves using several or all components at once. Thus, the CBD (cannabidiol) entourage effect refers to the interaction between many different compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Since the cannabis plant consists of more than 500 different compounds, it is important to understand the difference between CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Despite the difference between THC and CBD, they both provide health benefits. Source
CBD oil contains a very low amount of THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, giving the euphoric “high” commonly associated with marijuana use. Thus, even if you are using an entourage CBD product, it’s possible to find an option that’s almost THC-free. Whole-plant CBD oils are primarily based on cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
THC- and CBD-only medicines
Medicines that use only THC refer to synthetic THC renderings. Two of the most popular THC-only medicines are Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). These legal medicines are primarily used for the treatment of cancer-related nausea, though their efficacy is questionable.
According to a 2011 survey, only 1.8 percent of 953 patients opt for synthetic THC medicines over inhaled or infused consumption. THC-only pills take hours to provide relief, whereas inhaled methods provide immediate relief.
Medicines that are based only on CBD are popular these days. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabis compound. It is used in CBD-rich oils for treating epileptic children. Because of its effectiveness, many countries and U.S. states have adopted CBD-only law while THC-rich pharmaceuticals remain illegal.
Components of the entourage effect
Different components of the cannabis plant come together to deliver the entourage effect. Flavonoids are phytonutrient, and they are responsible for creating colours in the plant. These compounds are found in green tea, blueberries, apples, and many other foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis. Flavonoids are beneficial because they are enriched with antioxidants. They also contain antiviral properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpenes are another crucial component of the entourage effect provided by CBD oils. These compounds give plants and fruits their unique smell. Many people consider terpenes as a form of aromatherapy, citing their calming effects on the body.
Scientists believe that the cannabinoids in CBD oil strengthen endocannabinoids in our body, lowering the pain intensity. For instance, athletes can use cannabinoids in CBD oil to recover quickly after an intensive workout. Because of increasing concerns over addictive prescription painkillers, many people prefer CBD oil as a much safer alternative.
Whole cannabis plant medicine
Whole plant medicine refers to the medicines utilizing the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds found in the cannabis plant. The following image shows the most abundant cannabinoids and terpenes:
The entourage effect essentially combines the many components of the cannabis plant. Source
Each therapeutic agent that is processed out of THC- and CBD-only medicines is highly beneficial for the patients. These compounds treat a wide range of symptoms and conditions.
Getting the entourage effect
Each part of the cannabis plant is packed with different chemicals. Therefore, experts recommend using the whole-plant oil that is made from the leaves, stalks, and flowers. These types of cannabis products help you reap the benefits of all its chemical components.
You can also get more beneficial chemical compounds by choosing a product extracted by a process. Such products preserve as many chemicals as possible. Some extraction methods involve harsh chemicals and/or high temperatures, which destroys nutrients. Experts believe that the CO₂ extraction method is a good choice.
The bottom line
There are innumerable factors that affect the efficiency of CBD. Physiological differences across users, consumption method, dosage, and raw ingredients also play an important role in whether or not you will experience the entourage effect of the cannabis plant.
Currently, we know that whether a cannabis product will give the entourage effect depends on whether it is made with CBD isolate or with a whole plant extraction. The research is still in its infancy. However, cannabinoids appear to work best as a team, rather than individually.